RETAIL | “Loblaws” Returns to the West Coast

dK

Loblaws Returns to the West Coast

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Loblaws Brentwood 1961

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Loblaws Brntwood Burnaby

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I have strong early childhood memories of seeing Loblaws at the Brentwood Shopping Centre back in the day. And indeed, there was one anchoring Brentwood for a brief while in the early ’60s — it was the first Loblaws in B.C. and the largest Loblaws store in the chain when it opened in 1961. But it didn’t last long.

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BRENTWOOD SHOPPING CENTRE

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA

BACK IN THE DAY:

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Brentwood

 

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Brentwood is Opening

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Not long after Brentwood opened, Loblaws decided to pull its familial name from our West Coast and replace it with its sub-banners SuperValu, then the Real Canadian Superstore and Extra Foods, and more recently, Your Independent Grocer, T&T, Osaka Market, and No Frills.

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Loblaws > More than the price is right

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - SuperValu Logo

SUPERVALU LOGO

Semi-cheesy redo of the Loblaws logo for its west coast banner, SuperValu

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That meant that British Columbia has had no real Loblaws stores for at least half a century, just those other banners selling no name® and President’s Choice® private-label products.

I bet that, unless they read their packaging carefully, most Vancouverites have never heard of Loblaws.

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Loblaws fine pirint

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LOBLAWS LOGO

THE WORLD OF LOBLAW COMPANIES LIMITED

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So, it was a surprise when a couple of years ago I saw a hoarding on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver announcing the erection of a new “Loblaws.” I thought the sign was wrong and that the former site of an Extra Foods was being redeveloped for condos and a new Extra.

Well, I don’t get around as much as I should because early in ’14 I was bombing down Lonsdale again and at the corner of 17th Street East stood a — gasp! — real Loblaws, albeit with the added moniker “CityMarket,” which I’d never heard of.

So, I parked the car and took a look.

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Loblaws, since the days of Dave Nichol and Don Watt back in the early ’70s, has been an arbiter not only of food in Canada, but also excellence in retail and  graphic design.

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Dave

Dave Nichol – the President of “President’s Choice” – outside a then newly renovated store (in seventies’ chocolate brown!) and logo, both designed by Don Watt and his illustrious Associates. Below: the iconic logo as livery.

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Loblaws Bag

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The Loblaws logo >>> A classic of Canadian design. Perhaps my favourite logo, ever … (I’m thinking …)

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I’ve loved the company most of my adult life.

Then the rubble of Rana Plaza woke me up to the game of late-stage capitalism and I found myself outflowing all of my Joe Fresh-wear after “the troubles” began in Bangladesh last year. Watch the video and weep.

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Made in Bangladesh

>>> Click to play

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But … I’m still enamoured of the company and its semi-imperial owners, the Westons of Toronto and … well … masters of the universe.

My devotion to Loblaws Companies Limited is mainly due to the firm’s excellence in taste and design, but also because their private-label FOOD products are what we like to use in our household.

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The Loblaw Companies website has a good overview of how Loblaws became Canada’s largest food distributer:

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LOBLAW - HISTORY

Click to play

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With their return to the west coast, Loblaws is trying on yet another new format for Canadians who love food. (On the other end of the price spectrum they’ve also been playing around with “Box by No Frills”).

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - box by no frills - logo

BOX

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Loblaw Provigo

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“Loblaws City Market” (“Provigo Le Marché” in la belle province) is a spin-off of the fun Loblaws had retooling Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to accommodate/showcase their growing food and clothing retail empire.

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Rick Mercer’s take on it all:

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Loblaws’ corporate blurb on the City Market concept:

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - About Loblaws CityMarket

 More PR:

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Loblaws CityMarket

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Logo evolution … loving the lower case “I” in “city”

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Logo from Store

designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - Logo

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designKULTUR - Loblaws CItyMarket - North Vancouver - We Love Food

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Back to my visit: I wasn’t disappointed.

Loblaws CityMarket North Vancouver is the most beautiful supermarket I’ve  seen. Who ever thought that acres of bright-orange flooring could be so seductive? The CityMarket floor is the best logo extension I’ve ever seen.

And the prices? I stuck to purchasing a few sale items, the cost of which matched the prices I’m accustomed to at my local No Frills.

I walked away a happy guy.

I think Don Watt, rest his soul, would be very pleased with the evolution of the revolution he began under Dave Nichol’s tutelage way back in the early days of the nineteen seventies.

Bravo Loblaws!

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LOBLAWS CITY MARKET - THE PHOTOS on designKULTUR

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 Au Québec:

designKULTUR - Provigo - Le Marché - Sherbrooke - 3

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designKULTUR - Provigo - Le Marché - Sherbrooke - 1

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LOBLAWS FOUND TODA

I guess it’s no co-incidence that this week I would open a book and find a clipping featuring Japanese recipes by Bonnie Stern from 1991 with a full-page Loblaws advert on the back. Today I opened it for the first time in decades and photographed it for posterity (love that logo!):

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designKULTUR star - Loblaws CityMarket  Excellence in retail design

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designKULTUR - 4 LOblaws Logos -

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David Peireira | Brentwood Town Centre

L’actualité Alimentaire | Provigo Le Marché ouvre ses portes

Canadian Grocer | Maple Leaf Gardens heralds new Loblaws urban format

Canadian Grocer | Take a Tour of Loblaws CityMarket

Canadian Grocer | Loblaws CityMarket appeals to urban demographic

Canadian Grocer | Provigo Le Marché emphasizes local, from wine to prosciutto

Canadian Grocer | Inside Provigo Le Marché in Sherbrooke

wyliepoon flickr | Queen & Portland Loblaws Grand Opening

Toronto Life | Loblaws if Officially Moving into Kensington Market

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More Loblaws, no name, Dave Nichols and PC coming soon!

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designkultur

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